Weight loss Regime Survival Tip #7: Small Plates

1950s cereal bowl on the left and the bowls that came with my dishes on the right

I know, the idea of using smaller plates is not an original one. It is however quite useful. I was extremely skeptical of this at first, but in my random dish collection I have some smaller plates so I decided to try it out. After all of all of the random weight loss gimmicks, this one was a) free (because I already owned the plates), and b) easy to try. I also didn’t include any strange chemicals or secret over-hyped ingredients (which I guess we could ass as c.).

Don’t get me wrong, I am all for secret ingredients that magically melt fat. If I happen to come across one I will be ecstatic and will of course let everyone know. But I’m not a natural believer. Especially when these ‘new discoveries’ are timed to be released to the public just about the time people are realizing their bulky winter clothes are about to be shed for lighter, more revealing summer wear.

Surprize revelations seem less surprising when they fit on a marketing schedule.

If I were inventing a magic weight loss pill I would give it to my subjects in the winter and advise them to maintain their bulky outerwear for the cold season (I wouldn’t want them to get sick after all, I would be a caring mad scientist in this scenario) and then Ka-Blam big reveal at the start of swim suit season. Kind of a shock and awe approach.

I think I may have gotten off subject.

Small plates. Right.

Okay, so I was sceptical, but I figured why not? So I tried it. At first the plate looked strange. It was much smaller than my regular plates and it was kind of laughable. However, the first few days I put my normal amount of food on the plate and the plate looked over flowing. This was what made it look kind of silly. Without really thinking about it I started putting less on the plate so it wouldn’t look so over flowing. The over abundance got to me. How could I expect to lose weight if I was filling my plate so full?

Although I don’t think I ever actually said that. At least not out loud. I think aesthetically the over full plate got to me as well. I just couldn’t over load the plate like that and make a mess of the food I just spent time making. It had to at least look like I attempted to put it on the plate with care. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t attempt to make my plates look like they came from a restaurant, I just don’t like them to look super sloppy.

By the time I started using the small plates I already trained myself not to get seconds. One plate of food was enough. I put what I needed on the plate and didn’t go back just because it was good and there was extra. Leftovers could be lunch. Tupperware exists for a reason. Maintaining this no second helpings really worked at shrinking my portion size.

And for those of you who are thinking I might be starving myself, I wasn’t. At this point I realized that portion control was my biggest issue. The portion size I was accustomed to putting on the plate was in no way related to the portion size recommended. And certainly not to the calorie count of the correct portion size. Since calorie counting and exercise are the two main components of my weight loss plan, I needed to get a handle on this.

The problem was that when I measured out the correct portion size, it looked pitifully small on my large plate. It made me feel I was cheating myself even if intellectually I knew I wasn’t. The smaller plates helped. Bowls were an even bigger issue than plates though. My bowls are really large. They are the ones that came with the plates. You can see the picture above.

I am a big fan of cereal for lunch. It is quick, easily measured and requires no real thought. When I put an actual portion size of cereal in my bowls it looked silly. Seriously, I laughed.

It was not a happy laugh.

A few weeks later I was in an antiques/junk store and came across a set of four bowls from the 1950s that were actually labeled cereal bowls. They were white Fire King cereal bowls, to be specific. They are slightly discolored around the rim no matter how many times and ways I wash them (Including a professional sanitizer a friend of mine let me use, okay technically he used it but still they are clean, just a little worn), but they are sturdy little things. I bought them, and you know what? They hold the proper portion of cereal according to the portion size on the box.

Imagine that.

In then end, the smaller plates and bowls, ended up being the proper portion sized plates. I wasn’t being overly delicate or precious with my portions. The larger plates just led me to different expectations, wrong expectations. Who knew? Now that has been amended. I may be led astray, but it won’t be by my dishware.

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